The U.S. Army is blocking all internet access to the Guardian's coverage of the NSA spying scandal to prevent service members and military employees from leaking information themselves, the Monterey Herald revealed Thursday.
The censorship at Army bases across the U.S. is in place to ward off further leaks and ensure 'network hygiene,' said Gordon Van Vleet, spokesman for the Army's NETCOM network. He told the Monterey Herald:
"We make every effort to balance the need to preserve information access with operational security, however, there are strict policies and directives in place regarding protecting and handling classified information."
Yet, supporters of whistleblower rights argue that media filtering from the Army command ultimately cannot stop soldiers from learning about them or prevent them from potentially acting on their own consciences.
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"The Army is scared of its own soldiers finding out what groups like the Army are up to," said Ryan Harvey, organizer with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "If anyone has information about the actions of the U.S. government it is the soldiers themselves. Society has this distorted mythology of what the U.S. does in the world. Members of the military, who are put through hell in the name of U.S. interests, know what's going on."
"Bradley Manning was part of the Army, and there are other Bradley Mannings out there," continued Harvey. "That is what Snowden is showing us now. The military is filled with people upset with what's going on. The more those service members see people taking meaningful action on these injustices, the more they will want to take action themselves."
The blackout was exposed by the Monterey Herald when people at the Presidio of Monterey Army public affairs base in California were unable to access Guardian articles about the NSA leaks.
While the blocks were at first believed to just at the California base, Army officials confirmed Thursday an Army-wide block of the Guardian.